"But most of what we're talking about is not what falls under a strict definition of sexual harassment.

In fact, the more problematic ones are the ones that seem consensual.

"While it isn't specifically addressed in our regulations, I do think that we would find a faculty-student relationship ruled out tacitly by our other policies, particularly with respect to sexual harassment and notions of professional conduct," he said.

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Everyone brings up the case of the long-term, happy relationship, but that's a rarity.

What you are really trying to do is smoke out the professor who every semester picks up a student to have a relationship with -- the habitual offender," she said.

But he said that is was a situation that was fraught with peril because it also depended on the emotional stability of the professor.

A faculty member who himself was emotionally immature might be vulnerable to a student's attention and quick to misinterpret the adulation as genuine love, Dr. A Change of Status Is true love between a professor and student possible, let alone recognizable by regulatory codes of conduct?

But many administrators refer to faculty-student dating as "a gray area," where individual maturity levels, professor's marital status and questions of direct supervision play a role.

Professional Conduct A relationship between a student and a young faculty member or teaching assistant who is finishing his or her master's degree, is single and close in age to that student, may present a different scenario from that between a student and an older, married faculty member, said Terrell V.

I can understand certain circumstances where the professor appears almost God-like and therefore is highly regarded by the student.

The young person can feel in love and can fall prey to any manipulation on the part of the professor," he said. Cancro said that under such circumstances it is the professor's responsibility to maintain the boundaries of the relationship.

Ralph Cancro, a clinical psychologist and chairman of the Psychology Department at Marymount College.

"Just as there is a transference of emotion to the therapist, there is also a transference of emotion to the professor.

It is precisely because this type of relationship is apparently consensual that regulation becomes problematic.